It’s been a while since I posted, but I have been prioritizing real-life things (as opposed to things pertaining to the web-based world). As usual it’s mostly work, but I have had new and old friends around my house; bicycle rides when the weather permits; stepping out of my comfort zone and trying zumba; dramatic “familial” betrayals, that have only brought my family together; being reunited with my Gameboy Color; and good tv shows, among other things.
At any rate I recommend you read it, I don’t find Dostoevsky’s novels that hard to read despite being classic literature from 1880. Also as a non-religious person, I do not find any of the religious discussions boring or offensive; at times I felt rather more drawn to some of the sincerely religious, yet moral characters of the book. I will go back and read a hard copy with lots of footnotes, because as I am learning there are so many references to Russian history and culture in Dostoevsky’s works that, as an American twenty-something in 2014, I miss out on a lot of the finer points. I am currently reading Crime and Punishment and much enjoying the footnotes.
I have also read Nalo Hopkinson‘s latest book The New Moon’s Arms. For those who don’t know of Hopkinson, she is a Canadian-Caribbean author who has added a lot to an Afro-Caribbean imagining of Sci-fi and Fantasy, which tend to be genres that are generally very white, male dominated (especially, and sadly, so for sci-fi). This book was in the general here-and-now-real-world, but takes place on a fictional island and involves the fantastic or spiritual. Of the books of hers that I have read so far it is not my top favorite, that would be Midnight Robber. That said, all of Hopkinson’s books are the kind that I have problems setting down in order to tend to the humdrum, unavoidable tasks in life such as feeding oneself.
The last book I will mention is Matlida which I have been reading to my son Pika. I am a lover of well written children’s books and have been known to read them just for my own pleasure. Roald Dahl is a truly wicked and brilliant author, and surely appeals to most adults; it is always a fabulous thing when you can find a book that will captivate not only the child you are reading to, but yourself as well. Matilda is a child of half-wit, lazy parents but is herself sensitive and brilliant, with a great love for reading. In dealing with her parents and the Headmistress at school she discovers she has powers other than her exceptional intelligence.
There is, as most know, a film version of this book, but what the movie lacks is Dahl’s knack for accurate (and often scathing) descriptions of the personalities and flaws of his characters, and people in general. For instance, in the very first chapter he describes a first kind of parent, which he calls the doting parent, and how that kind of parent will think their child brilliant although that child is often lacking intelligence or personality. He imagines what he, as a teacher, would write in end-of-term reviews for these children: “‘Fiona has the same glacial beauty as an iceberg, but unlike the iceberg she has absolutely nothing below the surface.'” or, “‘The periodical cicada spends six years as a grub underground, and no more than six days as a free creature of sunlight and air. Your son Wilfred has spent six years as a grub in this school and we are still waiting for him to emerge from his chrysalis.'”
Among Dahl’s other books I would recommend The Twits, George’s Marvelous Medicine, The Witches, Revolting Rhymes, The Fantastic Mr. Fox, and The BFG (those are my favorites at any rate!)